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Should I have to teach RME?

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by reformed, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Is there anyone out there who knows whether a teacher can refuse to teach RME on grounds of their conscience.
    There are many teachers in Scotland who are being told by their union, the HMIe and the General Teaching Council that they are contractually obliged to teach RME if asked, and therefore cannot refuse to be timetabled to teach the subject.
    If a teacher were to refuse to teach RME because they had no religious belief system, or a religious belief system that they believed required them to be faithful to teaching what they believed to be the truth, or were completely secular in their world view, could that teacher claim his human rights is being impinged by having to teach what he or she believed were ideas and belief systems that were utterly superstitious, false, and contrary to rational thought?
    Any responses welcome?
  2. I may have totally the wrong end of the stick here, so apologies if i am wrong, but I am an RS specialis,t as well as an atheist and I find it very worrying that there is a perception that RS should be 'imparted' on students. Good quality RS wherever you are based should be based on students learning about faiths, and reflecting what they believe. Would this argument be held over maths or science? probably not.
  3. Thanks - my concern is the legal position of RME in Scotland as well - Maths and English or any other subject does not have the same legal requirement for being on the curriculum

    As you are well aware pupils have an opt out clause on grounds of conscience within this legal status.

    I absolutely and unreservedly agree that RME should be in the curriculum and should have the status of a mode in its own right, and for the good education reasons you suggest.

    RME is one of these valuable subjects that promote critical thinking, higher order thinking skills that is unique in the curriculum.

    But if I were a non-specialist having to teach the subject, and at that a secular rationalist, I am asking whether it is morally right for the authorities to require me contractually to teach RME.
  4. I would also like to say that I fully support RME teachers who do a difficult job in difficult circumstances
    As long as authorities and the government want to achieve the RME legal requirement on the cheap with non-specialist teachers - pupils will never get a good quality education

    They are not slow in perceiving that the way the subject is timetabled and delivered in their school or across the country is that it is at the low end of importance or educational priorities.
    This will always adversely affect the work specialist RME teachers are seeking to do
  5. ramaduds

    ramaduds New commenter

    I am under the impression they are legally allowed to - however, those who opt out of teaching RE (I feel) are not fully understanding the reason that law exists. All teachers have a duty to teach Spiritual, Moral, Cultural, Social education in all schemes of work. I cannot speak a word of German - but am not allowed to opt out (because of some clause) if they ask me to teach it. I am an atheist. I am also an RE teacher. I believe as teachers we have a duty to at least give the impression that we are not narrow minded - studying a culture, learning someone elses belief, debating an ethical issue, understanding a symbol's significance - why do you have to be religious to teach this? How is it any massively different to teaching the slave trade in history or a cultural poem in English, or Bangra dancing in PE or exploring a moral issue in drama?
    If, as a subject teacher, you teach knowledge and understanding, and you apply SMC (Spiritual/Moral/Cultural Ed) in your lessons [of which your supposed to] - then you are teaching the same methodology as many RE teachers!
  6. I think you'll find that the option to opt out is in the 1988 Education Reform Act but only applies to England & Wales. Scotland have their own statutory instruments.

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